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Where to start?
There's a lot I could tell you about this project, including the enjoyment of talking to most of the players on the 1969 U.S. and Great Britain Ryder Cup teams.
Maybe a good place to begin is to explain, at least in part, why I chose to tell this story. So, drawing on a portion of the book's author's note, here goes.
In search of a follow-up to THE LONGEST SHOT, my first book, I rediscovered the 1969 Ryder Cup and the famous moment in which Jack Nicklaus picked up Tony Jacklin's ball mark on the final green in the final match. That brief clip had flashed across my screen during golf telecasts on more than a few occasions. It was a dramatic and unusual moment in golf--a conceded 2-foot putt that resulted in a 16-16 tie, the first deadlock in the history of the Ryder Cup.
Ties are uncommon and mostly unwanted in sports, and yet many people would come to agree that Jack Nicklaus's concession to Tony Jacklin was a fitting and inspiring result for the Ryder Cup during an era when the event was struggling to survive. That first tie, assured by a climactic display of sportsmanship, reignited hopes for competitive matches in the future, although the Ryder Cup would continue to wobble along until the British side was expanded to become a European team.
As I delved into the 1969 Ryder Cup and the two captains and twenty-four players on the Great Britain and U.S. teams, I uncovered the compelling circumstances and the external and internal human conflicts that made a 2-foot putt matter so much. I also rediscovered the history and significance of the Ryder Cup, and how it progressed to being the huge international sports event it is today.
Following is the table of contents. You can read an excerpt here or here.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin
3. Tour Divide
4. The Big Ball
6. The Teams
7. Royal Birkdale
8. The Campaign
9. Thursday: Morning Foursomes
10. Thursday: Afternoon Foursomes
11. Friday: Morning Fourballs
12. Friday: Afternoon Fourballs
13. Saturday: Morning Singles
14. Saturday: Afternoon Singles
16. New Era
Appendix A: 1969 Ryder Cup Results
Appendix B: Ryder Cup Results, 1927 to 2012